2013/04/05 Minutes Economics Working Group

2013/04/05 Minutes Economics Working Group

Themes for next three weeks: 5th April – LETS and currencies – Mary; 12th April Group Dynamics and progress – Janos ; 19th April – Critique of the capitalist economy – Andy.

Local Exchange Trading – roots in the community as social network/ community currencies; LETS is upfront about being an alternative currency. Baby sitting circle – sharing tokens (buttons) 1 per hour; trading baby sitting hours etc. FIAT currency by agreement – closed circle. Need currency to start. Argentinian example – weekly meeting – bring something to sell and buy with the provisional currency. Poor quality led to debasement of the currency and criminal infiltration.
Discredited by the establishment. Once financial stability returned, the initiative declined. Brixton pounds are bought with real money – not clear benefit. Ithica hours in upstate NY. Canada in 1980 – David Weston – green dollars. Edgar Khan – Time Dollars. Hours defence against authorities taxing. John Rogers printed as an hour but is used as a money equivalent. Needs to look like money – confidence. LETS started virtually (digitally Excel/Access). Start at zero – commitment (debt) and credit balances. In practice some abuse the system. Money created by mutual credit. Value of the accumulated transactions is the wealth created by the community. Occupy – incentives for loo cleaning? Volunteering v currency. Zones – permaculture (some plants close to the kitchen etc.); currency – commune – rota (hours for chores eg. 20 hours for the community obligatory; further away from the centre the money you need money to reference value. LETS – women of a certain age looking for a man with a screwdriver – relationship – no transactions. Need strangers to maintain the momentum. Needs to be designed to scale it up – need a variety of stakeholders; otherwise it will remain small. Chi Gong for LETS credits; software available to record transactions. Local authority involvement which creates momentum (Brixton pound). The one whole truth and a half truth. Create a project, create a fund for it. Panic from overspending? Too many claims – major debt. Not a problem. But requires co-operative system with willing members. Eternal spring of goodwill.
Brixton LETS – spend what ever you want because it creates economic activity; Cafe accepted local currency but became disillusioned when all they collected were LETS tokens – business plan demands parameters and to spend the currency. Eternal spring of goodwill – inflation. Debt is in the system and is collectively owned – set up events to use the currency. Free riders – need varigate inputs from others. Block abusers. Software provides transparency and people in debt can be easily identified. Information delivered by text (Brixton). Virtulisation. It BITCOIN a LET? Clever software but not really. Introducing more substantial stakeholders but risk of government wanting to tax the income. Benefits in kind are taxed. Created by mutual exchange. Well intentioned but eclipsed by predominant currencies but it is a complementary currency – refreshes the parts other currencies cannot reach. Corruption by criminals – absence of goodwill – buddying to help others. Premised on localism/small scale; London – local meeting points – potentially scalable to 2,500. Fear – translates voluntary acts into mechanised behaviour. Not all transactions are recorded. Turns volunteering into a transactions. Once scaled, they need to be taxed – analogous to cash economy. Better than a food bank. Appear when the main economy is failing. Are there examples within thriving economy. Is there a need to eternally grow? WIR is going strong; housewife – domestic slavery – not registered on the economic scale. Desirable feature of any economy. Marginal – proper regional currencies; realistic proposition. Cost of production – local authorities use as a bulwark against central government. Modelling the economic system a good learning system – supply and demand – lack of professional in the community – is left unfulfilled; inventing currency within the prison; lack of transactions can be overcome with intervention from management; importing skills from outside. Valuing someone’s time? Big ticket items? Could you buy a car? Done in ~Australia (and houses). Valuation can be with reference to real currencies or in close knit groups different valuation criteria are required. Some standardise the hourly rate. By negotiation. Value of LET is working to obsolescence – strangers to friends.

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